We should all be deeply concerned about the speed and efficiency of New Zealand’s vaccine roll-out relative to other countries.
New Zealand is second last in the OECD and one report had us at 121 of the 190 countries in the world for vaccinations. We are definitely not at the front of the queue – we’re at the back!
Three of the four necessary IT systems for our roll-out aren’t ready, DHBs are contracting their own booking system solutions with disastrous results, the Government refuses to set a target for the percentage of the population to be vaccinated and we’re still unclear who will be vaccinated when.
The problem is that as more countries vaccinate their populations New Zealand risks being left behind. Others will start opening up trade and travel to each other while we, a country where our prosperity depends on international connections, will lag behind.
On a related point, it was shocking to learn that we continue to have issues in keeping our border secure a year on from Covid hitting our shores.
After all the carefully choreographed public reassurances and spin, we find that a border worker went without mandatory testing for six months, 450 workers in the last two weeks have not been being regularly tested and 85 of those 450 may have never been tested at all.
And no one knew about it. Even though mandatory fortnightly testing has been legally required since September 2020.
The elimination of Covid-19 in New Zealand should have been an opportunity for us to recover more quickly than the rest of the world and seize on the opportunities that exist in a post-Covid world. We are at great risk of wasting this through a slow and ineffective roll-out and continued process failures at the border.
- Christopher Luxon, MP for Botany